The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

March 17, 2013

Olympic Development Program Water Polo East/West Regional Championships: Making a splash

Spire playing a part in planting seeds of growth for sport

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP — A desire to spread the love of water polo to the entire country is one of the big reasons Spire Institute was able to host the Olympic Development Program Water Polo East/West Regional Championships this weekend.

“Part of our mission is to grow the sport,” Jennifer Rottenberg, chief marketing officer for USA Water Polo, said. She said finding new areas to showcase the sport is essential to its development.

It didn’t hurt that Ashley Papenbrock, Olympic Development Events Manager, is from Ohio.

“I am originally from Columbus and I wanted to bring an event to Ohio and I did,” she said with a laugh.

Rottenberg said there are almost 40,000 registered water polo players throughout the United States,  with 30,000 of them — 75 percent, residing in California.

California has its own developmental championships and the rest of the country are broken up into six zones and gather for regional competition where coaches can watch for talent and the girls can learn more skills, Rottenberg said.

Splash Ball has been developed to try and get 5- to 9-year-old children involved in the sport.

“It is kind of tee-ball,” she said of the relaxed rules and ability to sit on a flotation device.

The final destination for many of these young athletes is the selective national and Olympic teams.

In addition to the need for strength, endurance and size water polo players need to be mentally alert as well.

“You have to see what is happening,” Paperback said.

Many of the participants from Florida and the Southwest got an added bonus for their trip to Northeast Ohio. They were able to experience snow.

“The kids loved the snow,” Jim Boss, director of Acquatics for Spire Institute, said. “The parents; probably not so much.”

While the athletes are honing their skills, future officials are refining their craft, as well, Anne Laurence, Olympic Development Program manager, said. She said officials are watched by senior officials so they can learn from their mistakes.

Coaches are also looking to pick athletes to make a total of 70 girls to participate in a four-day training camp in Southern California in May, Woman Olympic Development Program National Technical Director Kim Everist said.

“There are a number of categories that we are evaluating,” she said.

She said physical attributes, attitude, mental acquity, technical skills and tactical skills are all taken into consideration.

“We engage in a lot of discussion with their coaches,” Everist said.

The final step is a four-day training camp where 28 athletes, in each age group, are tutored and fine-tuned.

The same procedure then starts over as the athlete moves to the next grade, Everist said.

Two teams will be picked for International competition, with one 19-and-under team heading to Greece for the World Junior Nationals and a mixed 17-and-under team heading to Argentina.

Madison Berggren, 16, of Salem, Oregon, said she started playing water polo three years ago when a friend asked her to join the team.

She doesn’t play any other sports now that she has fallen in love with the sport.

“I just do this all the time. I love it,” Berggren said. “I love how centered around team it is.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Taylor Outlaws edged by a run

    The slimmest of margins proved to be the difference in determining the outcome of a clash between the Ohio Outlaws Gold and the Virginia Shamrocks in the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals on Wednesday in Salem, Va.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Olivia-smile A Don McCormack column: Holt right at home at Mount

    When a young person from this area goes off to college and continues to play sports at the next level, we do feature stories on them.

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Twin State Night at Raceway 7 next

    This week is the annual Twin State Club night at Raceway 7. Regular racing will be presented in all five divisions. With the points races nearing their conclusion the racing will be hot as August weather Friday night.

    July 31, 2014

  • Tribe Kluber twirls gem

    “The ace is gone. Long live the ace.” That’s how Indians fans might be looking at matters today.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • SB1 Let’s play another

    It pays to have the right hitters at the plate at the right time.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Outlaws roll again

    They may be Outlaws by name, but the Northeast Ohio-based Ohio Outlaws Gold are certainly running with the in crowd at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals in Salem, Va.

    July 30, 2014

  • Don A Don McCormack column: Bearcat Gavorski on the mend

    Paying another visit to the variety store...

    On the mend
    Arguably the most decorated soccer player to every come out of the Star Beacon coverage area is down — temporarily — but anything but out.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tribe Not quite enough

    Although the Indians are still very much mathematically alive in the race for a postseason berth, they continue not to look like a playoff team. And when they have put a run together, they haven’t been able to maintain the habit of playing winning baseball.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Outlaws win opener

    The Ohio Outlaws Gold did not start well at the USA-ASA 16-and-under Nationals in Salem, Va. on Monday, but they sure did finish their opening encounter with a flourish.

    July 28, 2014

  • Racing remains at the fore

    Raceway 7’s Crate Late Models had an unsanctioned $1000 to win 25-lap feature with Kyle Zimmerman picking up the lion’s share of the glory after leading the entire distance for his first win of 2014.

    July 28, 2014

Little League All-Stars July 1 to 12
AP NASCAR Lastest News
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Schedule
AP NASCAR Sprint Cup Standings
AP Auto Racing Photos
West Side Shootout 2014
Ashtabula County at State Track Meet
Jefferson vs Akron St. Vincent St. Mary Regional Softball
District Track 2014
Jefferson District Softball Tournament
Bob Walters 50 Years
Geneva vs Perry Division II District Semifinal
Sports Week in Review May 12 to May 17
Sports Week in Review May 5 to May 10 2014
Sports Week in Review April 28 to May 3
Sports Video Archive
House Ads
AP Video